An eye-catch­ing ex­ten­sion to Lon­don’s V& A Mu­seum.

DestinAsian - - DEPARTMENTS - —James Louie

When Queen Vic­to­ria laid the foun­da­tion stone of the newly rechris­tened Vic­to­ria & Al­bert Mu­seum ( vam.ac.uk) at the turn of the 20th cen­tury, she de­clared that it would be­come “a mon­u­ment of dis­cern­ing lib­erty and a source of re­fine­ment and progress” for ages to come. To­day’s mu­seum aims to do just that with the un­veil­ing of an ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated ex­ten­sion known as the Ex­hi­bi­tion Road Quar­ter. De­signed by Bri­tish ar­chi­tect Amanda Levete, the six-year trans­for­ma­tion has re­claimed a for­mer boiler-house yard by sur­fac­ing it with more than 10,000 Dutch-made porce­lain tiles—a nod to the V&A’s en­cy­clo­pe­dic ce­ram­ics col­lec­tion—while adding a new en­trance and glass-faced café. In def­er­ence to the stately fa­cades of red brick and Port­land stone fronting three sides of the square, Levete built the new Sains­bury Gallery un­der­ground, ex­ca­vat­ing a vast, 1,100-square-me­ter space that will house the mu­seum’s block­buster ex­hi­bi­tions. The in­au­gu­ral show­case, launch­ing on Septem­ber 30, will take vis­i­tors through the evo­lu­tion of opera over the past 400 years.

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